Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: In Like a Plague of Locusts, Out Like a Tornado

A year ago today, Blake and I were stuffing everything we owned into boxes and driving to Willow Springs as fast as we could legally go (or, even a tiny bit illegally). In less than 24 hours, almost all of our belongings were carried into our house here at the ranch, and we could finally breathe easy. Six months of waiting, so perfectly ended on the first day of 2014. Adeline was seven months old.

Our first two boys moved in that week, and thus began the whirlwind that was 2014 for us. Even though houseparenting is a difficult job, and there were definitely days and weeks that left us totally worn out, we were (and are) just happy to be here. Our house has been home to six boys, some for a brief time, and some still now (I wanted to say seven, but since he isn't getting here until Saturday he doesn't actually count as a 2014 resident).

I am eagerly awaiting what 2015 has in store for us. You see, 2013 was a year that started well (graduating college, Adeline being born), then became extremely difficult until the very last week, where our lives took a turn for the better. On the other hand, 2014 was a year full of hope and victory, until the very last week.

Last week our family lost our patriarch, Paul Paschall. Christmas was filled with tears for our family, as we became aware that it would be the last time Papa would be sitting with us as we opened all of our presents together. He passed away the day after Christmas, and we buried him yesterday, the last day of 2014. We grieve, but we also hope for the day we see him again. When Blake, Adeline and I got home last night, with less than an hour left of 2014, we came home to a fridge full of groceries, a clean house, and a note from our relief parents letting us know they were thinking of and praying for us. With hope and sadness Blake and I kissed 2014 goodbye.

The past year is one I will remember almost completely fondly, and that is because of Willow Springs, our Promised Land; not perfect, but promised, through which God has blessed us abundantly. It is baffling how quickly 2014 passed, and our first year as houseparents here. If I know anything of God's faithfulness, then I know 2015 will be another year full of life, however easy or difficult, and that we can trust Him either way.

" we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV)

I think this verse is becoming our family's life verse. We came to WSBR to share life with boys in need, and we have had life shared with us. This verse is the legacy that Papa left with us, as his life was full of sharing and giving of himself. Though where our giving takes place may change, we know that God has called us to give our lives to those who need the gospel. Not just our tracks or our trite church sayings, but our investment, our time, our tears.

So, on this first day of 2015, I ask you to share life with me, and with Willow Springs. Pray for this ministry. Give to this ministry. I can't promise that sharing life will be easy, but it will be full.

Here are some things you can be praying for this week:

  • We have a new boy moving in this Saturday. He is in seventh grade, which brings our seventh grader total to three. Pray for him and our other three boys as they readjust to life at home and school here after being home for two weeks, after their families graciously worked with us as we spent time with our family in Texas this last week after Papa passed away. 
  • Blake and I will be going on a cruise for a week, and we leave a week from this Sunday. Pray especially for Blake that he will have some well-earned relaxation after a very difficult month, and for our relief parents as they do what they do best: bless us and make our lives easier! 
  • Please continue to pray for needs to be met. As of Saturday, both houses will have four boys each! Filling houses is great, but providing for the growth can be challenging. We trust that God will meet these needs; please join us in praying for this with full confidence. 
Please continue to pray for our family as we grieve and hope. Thank you, friends of Willow Springs, for sharing life with us.

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